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Biopharm Lands $25M Venture Funding for Phase 3 Trial

Loose bills of multiple denominations (borman818)Argos Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company in Durham, North Carolina, says it secured $25 million in series D venture financing, the fourth funding installment after initial start-up. The funds are expected to support a planned clinical trial of Argos Therapeutics’ immunotherapy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer.

The financing was led by Forbion Capital, a venture capital firm in the Netherlands specializing in life sciences and biomedical enterprise investments. Joining the round were current Argos Therapeutics investors TVM Capital, Lumira Capital, Intersouth Partners, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Morningside Group, and Aurora Funds.

Argos Therapeutics says its technology creates personalized immunotherapies using dendritic cells that capture, process, and identify antigens, and alert the body’s immune response, activating antibodies and T cells to destroy the invaders. AGS-003 is Argos Therapeutics’ candidate to treat metastatic renal cell carcinoma that loads a patient’s dendritic cells with a sample of messenger RNA isolated from the patient´s disease, resulting in an immunotherapy customized for each patient’s disease.

The company says the funds from the latest investment round will support its planned phase 3 clinical trial, a randomized, multicenter, open-label study of AGS-003 in combination with the current cancer drug sunitinib, compared to sunitinib plus a placebo. The trial is expected to eventually enroll some 450 patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma at 100 sites in the U.S. and Europe.

Argos Therapeutics says AGS-003, has been granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Fast Track is a process to encourage the development, and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious diseases and fill an unmet medical need.

The company conducted a phase 2 clinical study involving 21 patients newly diagnosed with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. In the trial, treatments consisted of AGS-003, which was administered as an intradermal injection every three weeks, in combination with sunitinib. Results indicated that the median progression-free survival in patients with the disease was 11.2 months, and overall survival was 29.3 months, based on follow-ups conducted through January 2012.

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Photo: borman818/Flickr

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